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ISRO looks to expand space-based agricultural forecast

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is building more remote-sensing satellite capacity as it looks to expand space-based agricultural forecast to cover over 23 crops from the existing eight in the country, according to a top official.

So far, the agriculture ministry tracks the production of eight crops, including rice, cotton, sugarcane and jute, looking at the total area of crop acreage and its development to forecast the produce for harvest.

The improvement in the forecast has led to a demand for satellites to cover more crops, Isro chairman K Sivan said.

ISRO has over a dozen remote sensing satellites but the demand for applications has increased its focus to plan at least six more satellites dedicated to land and water, cartography, oceanography and environment, including meteorology and weather monitoring.

It includes cartosat-1 and 2, Resourcesat, Risat-1 for all weather, dawn-to-dusk imaging, disaster management and agricultural monitoring. These satellites will help in more accurate crop acreage and production estimates; assessment of flood and drought damage, environmental mointoring.

"Some of the satellites are planned for replacement so that there is continuity in gathering data constantly," he said. It will also monitor the moisture in the soil across the country and will greatly benefit for agricultural purposes.

In 2018, Isro has planned over a dozen missions, including Risat-1A for terrain mapping. The satellite has the capability to monitor the moisture in the soil across the country to benefit agriculture.


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